Mistakes Are Made

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This is one of my favorite Steven Wright lines.

“You know how it feels when you’re leaning back on a chair, and you lean too far back, and you almost fall over backwards, but then you catch yourself at the last second?  ….   I feel like that all the time.”

The reason that jokes works is because the audience recognizes that feeling oh so well. The almost constant feeling that, if I make a mistake or turn the wrong way or say the wrong thing or buy the wrong product or pick the wrong partner, job, car, house … my life will be ruined. If you let yourself think about all of the decisions you make in a day and the ultimate potential consequences of any one of them, it is enough to make a person crazy.

Should I exercise? What kind of exercise should I do? How many? For how long? Eggs or no eggs? Fruit or no fruit? I could go on for days. And we all do go on for days. As if the just right choice will make everything magically perfect.

This is the tension behind our desperately searching for just the right _____________. This is especially challenging if you were born into a home of trauma, as was I. One wrong choice, one wrong move, and you’re dead. Literally. At least that is how it feels. But, trauma or no, the energy behind this extreme need to get it right drives a lot of our behavior.

As if there is a way to function as a human being without countless mistakes!

The mistakes are not the problem. The problem is that we hold the mistakes against ourselves, rather than take whatever lesson might be available and move on (probably to the next mistake). To make decisions lightly (with the knowing that there is no “perfect” and you are not going to die) takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. We all have different mechanisms for making decisions, but underneath the particular mechanism is an energy.

This is what you want to feel into. Allow yourself to feel and experience the underlying tension and fear, and just let it be there, without having to do anything about it, and you will see the energy shift. Decisions can then just flow. Mistakes can be made, risks can be taken. Behavior can change, or not, with ease rather than a life threatening struggle.

Having deep compassion for oneself in the face of all that we are up against every single day, this being human, allows life to flow as the creative process it is. You can know that even if you do fall, all is not lost. You can laugh at this joke and move on.

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